Steve's Blog
Edmonton Folk Festival, Oysterband, Finbar Furey, and more!
Friday August 7, 2015

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1. Edmonton Folk Music Festival

I'm writing this from our hotel suite in Edmonton. Last night was supposed to be rainy. It wasn't. Clouds circled and then left a big open sky above Gallaher Park, an ancient meeting place along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. The site was chosen well, it seems. Opening night kicked off with a spirited set by The DuhksJessie Havey was in fine voice, and Swedish fiddler Anna Lindblad linked up well with banjoist Leonard Podolak, who introduced his new electric banjo (set into a strat body. Very cool!) They were joined by Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson and THEIR guitarist, Jordan McConnell - a founding Duhk - on a Cajun number that was crying out for some accordion. Next up was Desert Blues wiz kid Bombino. Not bad, but IMHO not quite up to the standards of Tinariwen, who are also here this weekend (yay!!) Australian siblings Angus & Julia Stone were next. Interesting set of original songs, with Julia's baby voice (sounding a lot like Jill Barber) and Angus' gruffer voice making a nice contrast. I liked them. Iceland's Of Monsters & Men closed the first night. I hadn't heard them before, but was pleasantly surprised that they only sang in English and that the young girls behind me (both under 12) knew all the songs and were singing along. I think that the last 3 bands are all playing the Squamish Music Festival this weekend. The Icelanders featured a pounding drummer and two singers, one male and one female, plus two women on horns and a couple of guitars. It's not easy to see from the side of the stage - where the guests and performers can sit and watch the show. There are usually heaps of monitor mixers and amps in the way. There are TV monitors all around the site, though, which is a nice touch. Everyone can see what's going on, to some extent. As darkness falls the candles come out and the natural amphitheatre lights up into a swaying array of little lights. There's no other festival quite like it, I don't think.
Tonight's show kicks off at 6pm, with a concert by Oysterband, and workshops (wessions they call them here) on the other 6 stages. It's going to be a long weekend!! If you like, you can check out the schedule on

2. Oysterband, Thursday August 13th 8pm, at St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

Anglo Celtic folk rockers Oysterband return to Vancouver next Thursday August 13th for a gig at The Rogue. Their last show here was in 2012, and this time they will introduce new band members Al Scott (bass, mandolin) and Adrian Oxaal (cello). The latest CD is Diamonds On The Water, their first collection of new songs in 7 years. With each successive CD the songwriting gets stronger and the tunes more memorable. The Oysters recently launched a subset of the band, Oysters 3, with founding members Ian Telfer (fiddle), Alan Prosser (guitar) and John Jones (melodeon, vocals.) Perhaps they will treat us to a few "trios" too. For more information on this pioneering, long-running, and extremely creative band, visit There are still tickets available, but they are going fast! Click here to purchase online, or go to Highlife Records, Prussin Music, Red Cat Records, or Rufus' Guitar Shop to make sure you get in!

3. Finbar Furey, Saturday August 15th 8pm, at St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

Irish piper and songwriter Finbar Furey is perhaps most famous for his band The Furey Brothers & Davey Arthur, who had huge hits with Eric Bogle's Green Fields Of France (actually titled No Man's Land), and When You Were Sweet Sixteen in the 1980s. One of his most popular instrumental compositions is The Lonesome Boatman, which dates back to the 1960s. As the inventor of the low whistle he is certainly one of the most influential musicians on the Celtic music scene, for every Celtic band now features a low whistle. He is also one of Ireland's most celebrated and gifted players of the uilleann pipes. His latest CD, The Slender Promise, comprises 12 tunes on pipes and flute, while his 2013 single The Last Great Love Song was his first Top 10 song in three decades, and his 2012 album, Colours, features some outstanding new songs, especially The Old Man, and One Last Pay Day. Earlier this year Finbar sold out 6 nights in a row in Dublin. He seems to be at the apex of his powers, but insists that this short tour of North America will be his last. It's been over 20 years since he last played in Vancouver - two memorable shows with his brothers and Davey Arthur at The Cultch, where he gave the most amazing description and demonstration of the uilleann pipes I've ever witnessed. All the more reason to make sure you catch this unique concert at The Rogue!
We are indebted to Bill Reedy, who is underwriting this concert as a gift to his wife, Bev, who is terminally ill and wants to see Finbar one last time and to share the experience with friends and family and indeed all the Vancouver Celtic music aficianados. We are also indebted to Vancouver Country Dance, who moved their August dance to Friday 14th in order for this concert to take place on the 15th - the only date available to Finbar on his short, farewell tour.
For more information about Finbar, go to and for tickets and information click here 

4. Contra Dance, Friday August 14th 8pm, at St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
This is the Vancouver Conuntry Dance event that was moved to accommodate our Finbar Furey show. Admission is $15 at the door, and only $10 if you bring home-made goodies to share. For more details click here
Also known as two-fifths of Midwest dance sensation Gallimaufry, Countercurrent is composed of Brian Lindsay (fiddle, feet, vocals) and Alex Sturbaum (guitar, vocals).  With lively tunes, lush harmonies, and driving grooves, Countercurrent is a high-energy dance band that is sure to get you moving. Eric Curl, ace caller from Seattle, Washington started calling in 1996 and called in California and Colorado before moving Seattle in 2006. A mechanical engineer working for Boeing, he now enjoys calling in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia on a semi-regular basis.

5. Radio Waves
Paul Norton hosts The Saturday Edge On Folk this Saturday (thanks, Paul!!) from 8am to noon on CiTR fm 101.9 and I hope you can tune in and give him some support! 
I'm hosting Pacific Pickin' on Tuesday morning at 6am on CiTR! I'll even play some Bluegrass!! Not just MY definition of the genre!

Enjoy your weekend! See you at The Rogue!